Week 5 expert college football predictions: Cincinnati vs. BYU, Utah vs. Oregon State, Louisville vs. NC State

By Adam Burke  ( Managing Editor) 

September 27, 2023 12:20 AM

Week 5 Friday games feature Cincinnati vs. BYU, Utah vs. Oregon State, Louisville vs. NC State

Friday Night Lights: College Football Edition only features one Texas team, but we’ve got four games across four different conferences for what should be a fun night on the gridiron. Every game is lined at 3.5 or lower as well, so we should get some competitive games, as conference matchups are all the rage in Week 5.

From the ACC, we get Louisville vs. NC State. From Conference USA, we get Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP. From the Big 12, we get Cincinnati vs. BYU. And the main event of the night comes from the Pac-12 with Utah vs. Oregon State in a ranked battle in Corvallis.

While the main event is the biggest game, my favorite play is in the Cincinnati vs. BYU battle, so I’ll highlight that one and get to the rest after.

Week 5 Hub | College football odds | College football betting splits

(Odds as of September 26, 10:30 p.m. PT)

Cincinnati Bearcats (-1.5, 48.5) at BYU Cougars

A group with some serious pull moved this line on Tuesday night, sending Cincinnati from a road dog of 2.5 to a road favorite of -1.5. This will be the second Big 12 game for these programs, as Cincinnati lost at home to Oklahoma in a game that was not nearly as close as the 20-6 score would indicate and BYU lost in Lawrence by a 38-20 count to the Jayhawks.

Emory Jones had a monster game to open the season against Eastern Kentucky with 345 passing yards and five touchdowns. In three games against FBS opponents, he’s thrown for 625 yards with a 2/5 TD/INT ratio. In the last two games, Jones has four interceptions with zero touchdown passes. The Bearcats have lost to Miami (OH) and Oklahoma in that span.

I wouldn’t say that Kedon Slovis has set the world on fire for BYU, but he’s taken better care of the ball than Jones. The Cougars have also cashed in on their touchdown chances more effectively, as they’ve scored 12 TDs in 15 red-zone trips compared to nine TDs in 19 tries for the Bearcats.

To me, BYU is the better team with Cincinnati’s huge losses over the last few seasons on both sides of the ball. They’re not in the AAC anymore and that will show. Not to mention, playing in elevation is something the Bearcats almost never do and that could be a second-half factor here. My power ratings show value on BYU and I’ll believe in that.

Pick: BYU +1.5

Other Friday Games

Utah Utes at Oregon State Beavers (-3.5, 44.5): It feels dirty and like a tremendous undersell to list this under “other” games, but I don’t have a bet on it. It will be interesting to see if Cam Rising makes his 2023 debut. Up until last week, Utah seemed fine without him, but Nate Johnson was 9-of-17 for 117 yards and a touchdown against UCLA. Unless the defense has a huge effort in mind against DJ Uiagalelei and the Beavers, Rising might be the best weapon to help keep pace.

Last week’s 38-35 loss by Oregon State was rather misleading. The Beavers had 248 of their 440 yards on their final three possessions. They all resulted in scores, but they trailed by double digits at the start of each of those possessions. Washington State really put a beating on them, but lost focus on defense in the second half. Either that or Oregon State cracked the code and maybe it’s a good sign going into this week. But, Wazzu was the better team by far for three quarters of that game.

Utah has only allowed 38 points in four games, so this will be the biggest test of the season to date for Oregon State, but this will also be the biggest test of the year for the Utes (yes, that includes Florida).

Louisville Cardinals (-3, 55.5) at NC State Wolfpack: The transitive property of college football can twist you up like a pretzel. Florida State should have lost to Boston College in Week 3. Louisville was in the 50s against BC by the third quarter last week. That was one week after Louisville beat Indiana 21-14. Last week, the Hoosiers were not the better team against Akron, but escaped.

Meanwhile, NC State’s FBS data points are messy as well, including a pretty poor performance last week in the Brennan Armstrong Bowl against Virginia. NC State has also struggled with UConn and lost badly to Notre Dame. This one feels like a tough handicap to me, but Jack Plummer has been slinging it for head coach Jeff Brohm and it feels like maybe Louisville learned a lot about themselves in that Indiana game and corrected it.

This is the first true road game for the Cardinals as they head to Raleigh.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at UTEP Miners (-1, 53): Getting obliterated at home by UNLV isn’t good for job security and a loss here could mean the end of Dana Dimel’s tenure in El Paso. The bye week comes next and the schedule does give UTEP the chance at bowl eligibility with FIU, New Mexico State, and Sam Houston State in the three games after.

Louisiana Tech may be using backup QB Jack Turner with Boise State transfer Hank Bachmeier dealing with injury. Turner threw for 292 yards in last week’s 28-14 loss to Nebraska and had 145 yards on nine completions against North Texas. This is a pretty rough game to watch and maybe even bet, but a very important one for each program.

Go here for more VSiN College Football Best Bets.

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